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Army Air Force Navy

Biomedical Electronics Technologist

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time, Part Time


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Overview

Biomedical Electronics Technologists provide technical maintenance and repair support for medical and dental equipment used in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). As a member of the Health Services team, they use electronic instrumentation and workshop tools to ensure the accurate performance of medical devices. 

The primary responsibility of the Biomedical Electronics Technologist is to maintain medical equipment according to the specifications of both the Canadian Standards Association and the manufacturer. This includes a variety of medical devices, such as: 

  • Operating room monitors and devices;
  • Intensive care unit monitors and devices;
  • Emergency room monitors and devices;
  • Medical laboratory equipment; and
  • Diagnostic imaging equipment.

Work environment

Biomedical Electronics Technologists may work in a regional repair facility, at a Canadian Field Hospital, or an Advanced Surgical Centre, within Canada or around the world. They may also work on board a ship where they perform repairs and maintenance. They must make maintenance visits to medical establishments within the CAF on a regular basis.

Career Overview

Transcript

TITLE:

BIOMEDICAL ELECTRONICS TECHNOLOGIST

MASTER CORPORAL MITCHEL McNEE: I’m Master Corporal Mitchel McNee from Toronto, Ontario – I’m a Biomedical Electronics Technologist posted to Central Medical Equipment Depot in Garrison Petawawa. 

Biomedical Electronics Technologists, or B.E. Techs, install, maintain and repair the medical, dental and diagnostic equipment in base clinics and field hospitals, and aboard Navy ships.

MASTER CORPORAL MITCHEL McNEE: What we do ensures that medical care can be delivered to our soldiers and men and women in uniform when it’s required most. You’ll work on everything from SPO2 finger probes to large X-ray machines to oxygen generators that you require a forklift to actually lift, move and put in place. You’re repairing technology that actually helps people – people need this to survive. Whether or not you do a good job repairing a device could make the difference between life or death for someone who needs to use that device for life-sustaining treatment.

At home in Canada, B.E. Techs typically work a normal Monday to Friday work week.  As key members of the Health Services team, they ensure the accurate performance of essential medical devices. 

MASTER CORPORAL MITCHEL McNEE: It’s not just the work I do but the people I work with are probably some of the best I’ve ever had a chance to work with and just the people you meet in the military and the work environment, I find, is pretty great.

B.E. Techs are frequently on the road making regular maintenance visits to all Canadian Armed Forces medical establishments across Canada and overseas. 

MASTER CORPORAL MITCHEL McNEE: So for example, if you’re deployed overseas in a Role 2 hospital, you’ll be responsible to know every single piece of kit inside and out. So if at a mission-critical time it breaks, you have to be the one to be able to fix it immediately if possible. One of the big differences, too, with our trade is, if you were working for, say, ACME Biomedical, you might be only working on ventilators or anesthesia machines, where in our trade, you have to know literally every single piece of kit in the military. You don’t have the opportunity to be pigeon-holed into one set or type of equipment, you have to be able to know everything and think on your feet, which is, I think, the major difference is just the variety we get, versus the civilian side.

MASTER CORPORAL MITCHEL McNEE: One of the coolest things about being a Biomedical Electronics Tech for the military versus civilian side is, I would’ve never gotten to fire a rocket launcher working for Toronto General Hospital – and I have in the military. I got to go to Iraq for 40 days to the base in Erbil as we were closing out our Role 2 hospital and I had an absolute blast – it was a great time. I’ve also had the opportunity to go to Alert, Nunavut, which is the very tippy-top of Canada. And I had the opportunity to stand on the most northern shore of the country and be the most northern person in the country for at least 5 minutes, which was pretty cool. 

On completion of their military training, Biomedical Electronics Technologists get posted to a Canadian Armed Forces base for a full year of on-the-job training under the supervision of a senior Biomedical Electronics Technologist. 

MASTER CORPORAL MITCHEL McNEE: In your first year as a Biomedical Electronics Tech, you’ll be expected to complete your one-year on-the-job training package. This training package has a checklist of different types of pieces of equipment and procedures that you have to complete in order to be trusted to fix biomedical technology for the Canadian Armed Forces.

B.E. Techs are considered deployable as soon as they finish their year of on-the-job training, so they can expect to travel wherever there’s equipment that needs maintenance or repair.  With so many Forces members in so many places, and with so many different kinds of equipment in use, they’re always going to be challenged to learn new skills.

MASTER CORPORAL MITCHEL McNEE: I would say I’m very proud of the work I do, and I quite like the work I do. I think I’m extremely fortunate to have chosen this career when I did and having joined the military straight after high school and getting college paid for, especially, was extremely fortunate. I’ve had opportunities that I can certainly say I would have never gotten in civilian life if I were working at a major hospital or a major medical equipment company. I’ve had the opportunity to run navigation exercises for medical specialists at 1 Canadian Field Hospital, and had the opportunity to practise my supervisory and public-speaking skills where I might never get a chance to do so if I were working on the civilian side.  

Related Civilian Occupations

  • Biomedical equipment technologist
  • Electronics technician

Training

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Biomedical Electronics Technologists complete one year of on-job training under the supervision of a senior Biomedical Electronics Technologist.

Biomedical Electronics Technologists may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Technical Administration;
  • Leadership and Management; and
  • Service tech courses.

Entry plans

The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of a Diploma of Technology in Biomedical Engineering from an accredited Canadian institution and at least six months work experience within the past two years as a Biomedical Electronics Technologist. However, if you are a new graduate of a recognized program within the last 12 months, no minimum work experience is required. 

If you already have a Diploma of Technology in Biomedical Engineering from an accredited Canadian college and six months of work experience, the CAF will decide if your academic program and experience match the training criteria for this job and may place you directly into an on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military occupation training is required before being assigned.

Part time options

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They begin training by attending a basic military training course where they must meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, Biomedical Electronics Technologists will complete up to one year of on-the-job training under the supervision of a senior Biomedical Electronics Technologist to achieve their qualification. This on-the-job training will be coordinated and monitored by a senior technologist, taking into account past civilian trade-related experience as well as civilian work commitments. The on-the-job training may take place in blocks of training lasting from one week to longer periods of time based on your availability.

Reserve Force Biomedical Electronics Technologists may serve part-time at a Health Services Clinic and may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 92.8 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.